Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Outdoorsman Handicap Deer Hunt Banquet

Around 30 years ago Gene Morgan and Dale Miller started the SV Outdoorsman Handicap Deer Hunt with the help from the US Corp of Engineers at Rend Lake.

In order to join the SV Outdoorsman each high school student has to participate in a number of activities that enhance both the community and the outdoors. They have to recycle 50 pounds of aluminum each year, get to go on the Walden Solo their junior year (have to camp by themselves for one night with only a pup tent and trail mix) and get the opportunity to help with the Handicap Deer Hunt each year. Both of my brothers and myself are proud alum of the Outdoorsman Club.

Johnathon was told he was joining the club his freshman year and 'if' he didn't enjoy it he didn't have to join the other three years.  I'm pretty sure he'll be an Outdoorsman all 4 years of high school.

On the Thursday night before the first weekend of shot gun season, the SV Outdoorsman throw a banquet for all the handicap hunters. The students (SV Outdoorsman) get the opportunity to meet their hunter, dinner is served, raffle tickets are sold, prizes are given away! While it's a banquet, it's casual dress - most are in either orange or camo.

On the picture strip the top picture is of senior Anthony Acosta showing Johnathon the ropes on raffle ticket sales - it's a complicated process!

When the banquet starts, all the Freshman are introduced. They're required to quote the Outdoorsman pledge in front of the packed gym and receive their orange hat - inducing them into the club.  The numbers in the club have been dwindling over the last couple years, but the Freshman class came on strong with 31 members!  There are only around 60 students in his whole class.  I hope they all stick it out through their senior year.

Multiple prizes are raffled off through out the night & a slide show of past hunts is shown.  Sesser-Valier is probably one of the only schools in the country that not only allows a gun in the school, but gives at least 3 of them to a student!  I think they gave away 5 or 6 guns this year at the banquet.  The big prize was a $2000 Benilli that the kids sold $5 raffle tickets for.  I've bought these tickets for approximately 25 years now and have yet to win.

Each student was required to sell at least 5 tickets, for each ticket they sold over that their name went in a hat.  A 22-caliber riffle was given to one of the students by a random draw for selling raffle tickets.  Some kids names were in the pot only 1 time, thanks to Johnathon's Aunt Amy and Uncle Michael - his name was in there about 60 times.  He was the top seller this year!  And as luck would have it....his name was drawn for the riffle!!

When I was in school, as long as you had your FireArms card with you then you could take the gun home.  Of course times have changed and in the state of Illinois I think you have a 48 hour wait and the gun has to be 'sold' by an authorized dealer.  Johnathon has never shot a gun, not because he wasn't allowed but simply because he never showed any interest.  When his name was called,
1 - I think Poppa Deaner and I were more excited and
2 - he was a little naive as to what was going to happen
On the picture strip above the first picture (on the left) is of he and Mr.Sample posing with 'his' new gun.  In the middle picture he attempts to walk back to our table with 'his' gun and you can see Mr.Sample telling him to hold on.  The last picture is Mr.Sample trying to explain to a confused Freshman why he can't take 'his' gun!  The crowd laughed, not sure Johnathon truly understood what was going on.

The Handicap Deer Hunt:
A couple weeks before the banquet, the Outdoorsman kids meet up early one Saturday morning and build ground level blinds for the hunters.  They carry bales of straw and use whatever they can find in the surrounding area to camouflage the blind.  The day after the banquet they have to be at deer camp at 3:30am to help pack up their hunter and get them to their stand. Most of the hunters are in wheelchairs or have limited walking mobility. Getting them across a field to a stand is sometimes quite a challenge. Once the hunters are situated, the Corp representative gives them their unloaded gun (hunters are not allowed to have a loaded gun while students are present).

The hunters call deer camp when they get a deer at which time the kids head back out, track the deer, field dress it and load it onto the hunters car for them. Being tired from not sleeping and then experiencing the sheer joy of seeing a hunter kill a deer for the first time since being handicap (thinking they'd never get to hunt again) is quite overwhelming on the emotions. The Handicap Deer Hunt is an experience they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faux Tin Tile Ceiling Reveal!

When I purchased my house the ceilings in the entire house were all covered with the one foot square tiles (I've been told the name of these but can't remember it right now - oh well). I had no trouble deciding that I didn't like those and wanted a different look. So the task began of bringing them down. Pictured below are my niece and nephew the day I bought the house, not sure why they wanted their picture on the counter top but it shows the ceiling tiles this way so it a good thing for me.

The ceiling I found that I loved the most were the tin tile ceilings.  I'd already decided on stainless appliances and a stainless back splash.  I knew a tin ceiling would look so cool with my red walls and appliances.

Then I calculated the price!

So much for a tin ceiling.  From my rough calculations (I'm an accountant, I do pretty good calculations), it was going to cost me over $4000 to install a tin tile ceiling in my kitchen & dining room.

After hours of research on the internet.....a found a faux metal tile ceiling look that interested me. I decided to use a paintable, textured wallpaper and a two-step metallic paint to mimic a tin tile ceiling. I purchased the wallpaper @ Lowes for around $18 per roll. It had the look of a 4" tile with a flower burst in the middle, not an exact match to my back splash but similar. I ended up buying 8 rolls but only should have used 6 rolls. I ripped the paper down 4 times before I finally got the seams to line up correctly ummmm old house = nothing square or plum. But hey, the fifth time was a charm and it only cost me 35 bucks to get it right - I've had more expensive mess ups before. I'm pretty sure the paper is made by Allen Roth, but forgot to keep the label. I followed advise I read on a blog while researching the faux tin ceiling look and decided to cut the wallpaper into squares (kind of like metal tiles would come). So I made the length the same as the width of the paper. I sat in front of the tv and cut these on the floor, it took several hours to cut it up - I won't lie to you. I started out using a utility knife but quickly switched to scissors. My lines weren't as straight with the scissors but they were so much easier to handle.

It was a pain at times to line up the seams of the paper tiles I'd created, but I don't see how I would have papered an entire ceiling row at once. A 20" square tile was more than I could handle at times. If you attempt this look, I recommend cutting the paper into tiles.This is my fifth attempt to get the lines going straight. The theory of wallpaper sounds so easy, I don't have a clue why I kept getting everything out of whack (this isn't my first time papering either). I gave up on the stated directions of starting in a corner since mine aren't square and choose to get the hardest piece out of the way first - under the already installed ceiling fan. If you look closely in the picture below you can see where I'd ripped off still somewhat wet paper and it left an imprint on the ceiling. Also, once a tile dries on the ceiling/wall - don't try to reuse it. Just bite the bullet and throw it in the trash - yes this was a lesson I learned the hard way. I know you can mix up a glue mixture and reapply it, but that mixture is stronger than the prepaste that comes on the wallpaper and is a tad bit harder to get down when you decide it isn't going straight again. The finished wallpapered ceiling. I did contemplate just getting a white gloss and leaving the ceiling white after I had all the wallpaper hung. I'm not sure exactly how long it took me to do this part of the job - I started and stopped frequently after my 5th restart. I'd work on it a little in the evenings until my neck would start hurting. I had other things going on so I didn't get to work on it every evening. I think it took me almost 2 weeks to finally get all of it hung. I let the ceiling "sit and rest" for a few days and then got out my Elmers glue and fixed a few corners that weren't sticking like they should be. Then on the following weekend I decided I was ready to paint.

The first paint in the two-step process is the Valspar Semi-Gloss Finish from Lowes. I had them mix it in the Pewter color (I looked online for color swatches of their metallic finishes but gave up on that search) - you can get a wide variety of metallic finishes, the copper looks cool too - I painted my utility room a light orange, a copper ceiling in there??

This paint kind of freaked me out when I opened it and started stirring and stirring and stirring, it was super thick and sticky (yes I mean sticky) - not at all the consistency of normal wall paint.

As you can see from the picture, it went on dark. For as thick of a paint it was, it covered the ceiling very well but you did have to put a little muscle into it. So similar to the hanging of the wallpaper, I took several breaks to let me neck and arms rest. But I did finish it in one Saturday afternoon. It was tacky to the touch so I let it rest overnight. The second coat - Valspar Brilliant Metals from Lowes.

This paint is a gloss and has the metal shiny, sheen effect. Plus it covers up any of the little bumps and ridges in the textured wallpaper that you didn't quite get enough of the thick, sticky paint on.

Drum roll please! The finished ceiling after the metallic gloss coat...... I absolutely LOVE it! I love the way daylight coming in the window shines off it.

When you stand long enough and stare at it you can see the seams from the wall paper, but hey tin tiles would have seams too and this cost me over $3700 less to complete plus I don't have noise echo issues like I would with metal. After buying 2 extra rolls of wallpaper I spent just under $250 for the wallpaper and metallic paint.

Now I just need to get the crown molding up, finish the shadow boxes above the cabinets, finish building & painting the kitchen island and install the flooring! Easy peasy, should be done in oh......3 months, ok maybe 4 months :)
When the ugly white tiles came down we found this....I wasn't happy about the wallpaper I found on the ceiling, I was hoping it would be all wood and I could just do a white-wash finish and leave it antiquey (I know this isn't a real word but you understand the meaning!). Anyway, I was told that I shouldn't remove the wallpaper on the ceiling do to the age of it and not knowing what type of 'glue' was used. You can see the pretty living room tiles in this picture too, I'm telling you the whole house had those tiles. and this would have been another problem with leaving the wood.....the newer edition has newer wood - imagine! I can't believe they didn't search around for the same wood as the 100 year old original house when they added on. Geesh, what were they thinking. So, when we hung the sheet rock on the walls I gave in on my hope of a wood ceiling and had the ceiling sheet rocked too. Then I started researching options of ceiling finishes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I planted a garden and the parents lost their roof!

This is the location I choose to plant the garden. I/we planted potatoes, lettuce, spinach, chives, yellow & white onions, rhubarb & asparagus - wish the later two would be harvest-able this year, hopefully by next year :(

Early next month I can plant tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, corn, squash & broccoli. May try a few pumpkins too!

Oh, I also have basil, cilantro & oregano to plant.

Dad tilling the ground. We're pretty sure Walter (previous home owner) had a strawberry patch where I'm putting the garden.

All the seeds waiting to be planted.

Johnathon planting lettuce - I'm ready for some wilted lettuce, hope it grows quickly.

Sunday (all day long) we had massive winds blowing through here. On the registered meters they clocked them at 68 mph. I'm pretty sure we had gust for well over an hour that were stronger than that. My parents barn isn't the only one in the "country" with damage similar to this. I'm standing in the barn looking up here:

The winds died down some but where strong again on Wednesday when I took this picture.

A barn in a small town south of us crumbled, literally, in the high winds. It too was over 100 years old and it has the same roofing as my parents, now I just need to figure out who owns the pile of ruins so I can see if they'll sell some of the roofing.

Well, time for me to get going, have a 1-year old birthday party to get to followed by Prom pictures for four couples in Benton. After the photo session I'm heading to Rural King to get more gardening tools and a few more seeds too! Hope you have a great weekend.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Worth It?

Last summer I agreed to get Johnathon a cell phone in return for him mowing my yard all summer.

He and I were having dinner a couple nights ago after his Freshman orientation and he tells me "If you want to" you could get me an iphone for my 8th grade graduation and I'll mow your lawn this summer. Little did he know it was already decided he'd be mowing, I just didn't realize that it'd cost me an iphone!

After an initial response of "I don't think so", I'm actually considering his proposal. His current plan has a limited internet service on it already so the iphone after initial purchase will cost me approximately $15/month more or $180 per year. What are the chances that I'd find lawn service for the year for $180?? So will his 8th grade graduation include an iphone?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

From 78 to 30

Last weekend was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It was in the high 70's and I had the windows open all weekend long. I somewhat regretted not having screen doors (I took the olds ones off when I bought the house cause they were UGLY and haven't got new ones on yet). Then in the middle of the week the temp started dropping, I enjoyed last weekends weather much better.

I've been painting in the kitchen/dining room all day - I'll share pictures of what I've been up to either later today or tomorrow. Mom bought me a new gadget today and brought it over. A red tea infuser to match my red themed kitchen, isn't it cute!
Earlier today the sky was rumbling with thunderstorms (didn't rain much just made a lot of noise). A little after noon this is what I walked out to when I headed out to feed the cat my lunch leftovers......a lovely sleet/snow mixture. Mother nature is a little confused, she must have forgot that it's spring now.
After going out in the snow/sleet mix I decided to carry in a several armloads of wood and get a fire going, put on a pot of tea and rest for a few minutes.
My new tea infuser made a wonderful cup of tea - actually it made three cups before I got back to doing something. I was just so cozy with my blueberry vanilla tea sitting in front of the fire typing out this post that I didn't want to get back to physical labor.

While I should be getting going again on painting, it'll have to have to wait until tomorrow. A friend just called and I now have dinner plans with several high school friends. We're heading to a Japenese bar & grill (we'll sit at the grill enjoying old friendships while they cook our dinner for us), should be fun and my home improvement projects will be waiting here for me tomorrow - they always are.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hello Maude, it's me again! I know I've been a terrible blogger recently, I just been so busy.....this is going to be a long post. I'll get pictures up soon of my progress and a recap of sports I've been shooting.

After Christmas it felt like I was at a basketball game 3-4 times a week, wait a minute I WAS at basketball games 3-4 times a week. I made custom storyboards in different sizes for each of the 8th grade boys that their parents presented them on the last home game. I also made an album for the coach that the boys presented to him that same night. Once junior high ball ended I was at the high school games and then volleyball began. Volleyball ended last night, track practice started yesterday with the first meet in 2 weeks - it never ends!

One weekend toward the end of basketball I had a 3 hour session with the junior high cheerleaders, it was a lot of fun. The junior high boys won regional and competed in state (didn't place but we're still proud of them) and the junior high cheerleaders also competed at their state (6th place but deserved 2nd at the very least in my opinion). I had a fun weekend in Springfield watching the cheerleaders, reliving high school memories.

I was hired by a couple other schools to shoot some of their sporting events - that's exciting! I didn't intend to become a sports photographer but always loved participating and attending sporting events of all types plus I understand the rules and flow of the events for the most part which I think is necessary to capture good sports pictures.

In addition I've done several newborns, toddlers and a few family sessions. I've also shot 2 birthday parties (80 & 90 year old folks) with extended family group pic's. So that's what I've been up to the last 2-3 months.......sports and pictures.

On the house renovation:

I'm having a love/hate relationship with red paint. I can't get it on without showing brush strokes and I've painted many a room, inexperience isn't the issue. I purchased an additive a few days ago on a friends recommendation that's suppose to reduce/eliminate brush strokes from showing. Repainting again this weekend and will let you know.

I'm 75% done with my kitchen/dining room ceiling! WooHoo!! I only restarted it 5 times, Sunday I tore half of what I had done down and kept going until I was done with that part of it (my neck and shoulders weren't happy with me Monday morning). Tonight I'm going to buy the cabinets & supplies necessary to build my kitchen island. Tomorrow Michael is coming over to move my light (it's about a foot off from being centered over the island which will bug the heck out of me if I don't get moved). Once he moves the light I can do the last step of the ceiling and it will be DONE.

I'm also purchasing the crown molding tonight. Hope to find time this weekend to at least get it painted and maybe hung next week if I get the red paint to cooperate.

Once the ceiling & walls are done and the island is semi built, I can finally lay my kitchen floor. Am I ever ready to have an actual floor and not a wood sub-floor. The only major thing remaining in the kitchen/dining room is the deck door (it's a window right now). I still have to find the one I want at a price I'm willing to pay. It'll be a May/June project.

I still need to remove the bottom cabinet doors (again), sand them this time and repaint them. I also need to paint the shadow box area by the ceiling - I'll have to show you a picture to explain it. I think I've narrowed down my fabric for curtains.

Hopefully by Easter I can start to decorate this area - hopefully.
I think that's enough of a 'catching-up' post for now.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reunited with a past love....

I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year's Eve! I enjoyed my little Christmas vacation/break from work. At the start of my vacation I had a few photo sessions and a lot of picture edits to get done and all the hoopla with Christmas activities. But for the last couple of days I'll have to admit I've been pretty darn lazy. I've had plenty I should have been doing, I just couldn't get motivated to do it. Now I have to return to work tomorrow - not looking forward to that in the least. In fact, I've come to the conclusion I'd make a pretty good house wife! If you know a good guy looking for one let me know!! LOL


If you've been out late in Carbondale in the past 30 years or so you'll know who Winston is, one of the best parts of going out on the strip in Carbondale was Winston's bagels. You'd smell them toasting on an open fire the minute you walked outside.

I always ordered mine with cream cheese, cinnamon, bacon and apple slices. Here recently I found bagel tops (basically it takes all the thickness out of the middle which just gives you the top and bottom of the bagel)and decided to make my own Winston bagels at home. I toast mine in a toaster but the end result is still pretty darn good. In fact they've become a recent obsession of mine....

Back to work tomorrow. Not only is it the beginning of the month, but also the beginning of our fiscal year which means I'll be working, working, working. To top the week off, Johnathon has 3 ballgames this week. Joy!

I hope everyone has a great start to the New Year!